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Dual quality food testing procedure ready in April

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Dual quality food testing procedure ready in April

Vera Jourova - Photo EC

(PRAGUE) - The common testing methodology for dual quality of food, developed by the EU's Joint-Research Centre, is to be ready in April, European Commissioner Vera Jourova announced on Friday.

Ms Jourova, EU Justice and Consumer Commissioner, said this will allow EU Member States authorities to launch a coordinated testing campaign in May. The methodology has support from at least 16 EU Member States and stakeholders, she said.

The question of dual quality of food products has beenm made a priority by the EU executive. Its president Jean-Claude Juncker said at his State of the Union address: "I will not accept that in some parts of Europe, people are sold food of lower quality than in other countries, despite the packaging and branding being identical. We must now equip national authorities with stronger powers to cut out any illegal practices wherever they exist".

The tests will involve the composition of a common basket of products which are marketed in most Member States and will include chemical and sensory testing.

The aim is to present the first results by the end of 2018. Commissioner Jourova said: "We are continuing to roll out our action plan to put an end to the dual quality issue. The fact that 16 Member States are participating is a clear sign that this is not an East-West divide issue and that we will tackle it together. Also, the reform of EU consumer law, the 'New Deal for Consumers', that we'll present in April, will also make it more difficult and costly for companies to mislead consumers. Consumers are in the driving seat. They should refuse to buy products they consider of lower quality. I also expect the industry to live up to their customers' expectations and offer products of a same quality across the EU."

To tackle this issue, the Commission has adopted guidance on how to apply and enforce the relevant EU food and consumer protection laws in September 2017.

It is also offering funding to support the enforcement actions of Member States.

Commissioner Jourova has met with industry representatives several times to ask them to stop unnecessary product differentiation practices, which do not correspond to specific market requirements.

Some producers have already started to change their recipes in order to ensure the same products are sold across the EU.

Details of the action plan

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